Two candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump won in the West Virginia primary on Tuesday, proving that Trump’s endorsement has been valuable to many who receive it.
Reps. Alex Mooney and David McKinley faced off against each other in a battle of GOP incumbents as the state is poised to lose one of its three legislative districts in 2022, and Trump-backed Mooney pulled out a decisive victory over McKinley to face off against a Democrat opponent in November.
“Donald Trump loves West Virginia, and West Virginia loves Donald Trump,” Mooney said in his victory speech.
Trump endorsed Mooney after McKinley became one of 13 Republicans to vote for President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which has helped contribute to current inflation woes in the U.S.
Trump endorsements paying off
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Carol Miller also easily won her race for the first district with Trump’s endorsement.
So far, Trump’s endorsements have a perfect win record in primaries, but that seems poised to come to an end in Georgia, where Trump’s attempt to unseat incumbent Governor Brian Kemp doesn’t look likely to find success. Former Sen. David Perdue trails Kemp by 30 points in the state, which Biden narrowly carried.
Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud in the state and attempts to get Kemp not to certify results and to conduct more investigations may have soured some voters in the state on him or his attempts to get Kemp out.
Congressional candidate Herschel Walker, another Trump endorsement, will likely win in the state, however.
Trump was also able to bring Hillbilly Elegy author and political commentator J.D. Vance from the bottom of the pack in Ohio to a Senate primary victory on May 4, even though Vance had previously criticized Trump and called him “reprehensible” (he later apologized and said Trump was a good president).
It is clear that Trump is still very popular with the people, even though many congressional leaders and governors distanced themselves from him after the Capitol breach on January 6 and continued claims that he really won the election.
While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, and some others have made it clear they don’t like Trump all that much, the rank and file are much further from that outcome.
These primaries and polls that show Trump way ahead of the pack of GOP presidential contenders tell us that the party leadership is still largely his, if he wants it.